CKXU at Sled Island 2024 Blog: Day 1

Sled Island 2024 has officially begun! Okay, really Sled Island kicked off Tuesday night at Commonwealth with the Sled Island kickoff party, featuring performances from DJ Dine and Dash, Malaika Hailey, Völur, Lost Decade, and Beta Boys. But I was not in town for that fabulous kick off show so I my Sled started at Dickens Pub Wednesday night at 8pm.

Walking into Dickens for another Sled was like returning home, if home was filled with 808 breakdown drops and an occasional spin kick. The spin kicks were only occasional, which was slightly disappointing but I assume people were saving their energy for the rest of the weekend. Yes, there were no bloody noses or bruised knees, the most damage I saw was from a spilt beer can that someone very slowly slipped on. However quickly into the show all eyes were drawn to the artists and away from fellow audience members.

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram

Dickens Pub on 19/06/24

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram


Squelch unceremoniously took the stage, as all opening acts must do. Squelch quickly showed us why they should have had a ceremony though. Immediately a count in is heard and the band rips into an intense chopped up rhythm played beyond breakneck speed which would continue for the next 20 minutes. The line defining where a song began and ended was purposefully unclear as is the case in many grindcore sets creating a very claustrophobic feeling to the music, where the only way out was back up through the Dickens staircase into the mild evening.

After a few minutes, the band seemed to all collectively take a drink of water then go right back at it again. Their endurance was nearly as menacing as their music. Somewhere along the way in the second half of their set one of their two front people announced that this would be their last set. The audience continued to listen with disappointed ears, but right as the band kicked into their next song one of the front people jumped off stage and grabbed two people by their shirt collars and threw them which caused the largest circle pit of the night so far.

Then came their last song and with it many hugs and looks shared, obviously the band meant a lot to the members of Squelch and this moment at Sled Island was the convergence of a lot of personal emotion. You can still listen to Squelch on their Bandcamp or follow them on instagram, who knows maybe their reunion gig will come sooner than we think, but I don’t think it will come sooner than we need it to.
Instagram @squelch.grind

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram

Squelch at Dickens Pub for Sled Island 2024

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram


After Squelch I needed a glass of water and wanted to debrief with Kort AKA @flamesgrain AKA CKXU’s photographer at Sled Island about the set, during our debrief I couldn’t help but hear a rhythm being frantically tapped/slapped on wa pracrtise pad. I looked behind the curtain for a second to see Justin, the drummer of False Body, just pounding out patterns while gently tapping his feet on the ground all together in harmony. It was then I realized I was not ready for the level of musicianship I was about to witness.

The band got on stage with a jet turbine decibel level of feedback, some seriously ear piercing stuff. They all took a quick glance at each other and without even taking a second to breathe they exploded into their first song, in that flurry of the first note the guitarist’s hat flew off beside his stacked Orange amplifier. He never even bothered to pick it up again probably because he knew better. False Body left me speechless. Moshing or moving at all really didn’t even cross my mind as my eyes danced between watching the drummer, guitarist, and bassist make such technical and emotional music.

The marriage between their technical abilities and emotions is what sets False Body apart, at every shows of theirs I have seen. Their vocalist is able to control a crowd so easily through her actions and commands, it is like a pitcher throwing a perfect game; simply beautiful to watch. However the engine of the band is their drummer, what a dummer. If I was floored by his warm up his performance was unlike anything I had ever seen. Maybe it is because I am in Calgary so the comparison comes easy but last night Justin from False Body was Bret Hart, the absolute excellence of execution behind the kit, wrapping the audience up in his patterns then making them submit with every breakdown.

The last moment I want to capture from their show was somewhere in the last few songs. In typical False Body fashion everyone was sweating out a complex grind-influenced riff where out of nowhere the bassist’s strap slipped off of his bass and nearly sent his gorgeous red burst Rickenbacker to the floor but in an instant he snatched the red body under his elbow. He held his heavy bass against himself as he put the song to bed, it just reinforced all of the supernatural ideas I have about False Body’s talents. Not even a gear malfunction could slow their energy down.

False Body came out with an EP a few months ago and it is amazing. Please check it out and if you’re in their hometown of Edmonton check out one of their gigs! They also play around the province so keep an eye on their socials for when you can catch them next.
Instagram @falsebodyhc

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram

False Body at Dickens Pub for Sled Island 2024

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram

11PM- Abrupt Decay

I should preface this portion of the blog by saying that this Abrupt Decay set was one of my most anticipated in the entire weekend of Sled Island. For those unaware Abrupt Decay has been a dominant force in Wild Rose Hardcore for over a year now, and with two EPs released and countless stages played (most recently joining Cel Damage on their Canadian Tour leg) it only makes sense for them to be prominently featured at Sled Island.

The hardest part about covering Abrupt Decay in a blog style post is describing their presence. There is such an aura of energy surrounding the band at any moment that it feels like the ceiling could come off of the venue at any point. As if their emotional expressions through their instruments is not enough of an outlet so all that remains is to send a conscious shock straight through the nervous system of each audience member to signal the upcoming Abrupt Decay set.

The set started and Calgary obviously wasn’t ready. Honestly I don’t even think I was ready and I have seen Abrupt Decay play numerous times now. There was a serious buzz in the audience that I could feel, people speculating about the pedals and turntable used by Gill to accompany the onslaught of analogue gear used by everyone, others wondering about what songs they will hear, I even heard someone ask if they should take their glasses off in fear of losing an eye in some mosh related disaster. Thankfully no disasters occurred, instead what people assumed to be a concert turned into an education in what Wild Rose Hardcore has become and what everyone has been missing out on if they have not attended any Abrupt Decay shows over the last two years.

The band played lots of new material which fully utilized their most recent member Gill’s 808s and effect pedals, Gill spent the entire set stressing the Dickens sound system to its breaking point. After each bass drop I fully expected the power to go out. The sheer sound produced on that stage was something to behold because fully understanding what notes were being played or lyrics were said would be futile. There just is not enough capacity in the human mind to fully digest an Abrupt Decay set in the moment. This goes double for when False Body joined Abrupt Decay to do their feature in the song Febrile Seizures, I am not one to pick highlights as the whole night is a highlight really, but that moment was incredibly special. Seeing the two bands join forces on stage to become a two headed monster, an absolute force to be reckoned with. If there was ever a split tape that needed to be made, it would have to be with Abrupt Decay and False Body.

However through the onslaught of an Abrupt Decay set I noticed how tight their drummer and bassist are with each other, it’s like they have been playing these songs for a decade together. I’m sure their recent run of shows has made everyone that much tighter in the band as a whole but for their rhythm section to be so cohesive, it just gives the band that much more of a platform to jump off of musically speaking.

The rest of my notes are just about how killer their new songs are, I am unsure of their song names but they announced a few of them throughout the set as “new ones”. They are so beyond what I expected from the band it was like they wrote the songs while visiting far away galaxies, they are not reinventing the wheel of math/metal/hardcore but rather pushing all of their genre tags to new creative heights. Heights I am not sure Wild Rose Hardcore and Alberta at large are ready for but getting this little taste of what is to come from Abrupt Decay is an amazing treat.

As quickly as it started it ended, such is the beauty of hardcore. What a first night and what a gig. A truly unique and fantastic show as is Sled Island’s trademark. Stay tuned to Abrupt Decay’s instagram as there is too much going in their favour at the moment for big things to not be on the horizon.

Instagram: @abruptdecayab

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram

Abrupt Decay at Dickens Pub for Sled Island 2024

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram

Thank you to all the bands, event volunteers, and staff for putting on an amazing night! There is still more to come from Sled Island and you can read all about it here on!